As the folks who publish NBA mock drafts shuffle players up and down, one surprising name continues to be among those more recognizable.
Among casual NBA fans, Emmanuel Mudiay isn’t as well known as Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns, Duke’s Jahlil Okafor and Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell, but Mudiay’s been mentioned as high as the No. 1 pick.
Other recent mocks, including by SI.com and DraftExpress, have Mudiay, a 6-foot-5, 200-pound, 19-year-old guard, going to the Kings at No. 6.
“Recent buzz among execs is that Mudiay could fall in the draft,” wrote Chris Mannix of SI.com. “He won’t get past Sacramento, which would be thrilled to get the big, athletic playmaker to run George Karl’s up-tempo system.”
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Mudiay, who was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, played his final two high school seasons at Prime Prep Academy in Dallas and was rated as the second-best recruit in his class by Rivals.com. In 2013, he announced he would play for SMU and legendary coach Larry Brown, but in the summer of 2014 he decided to forgo college and play in the Chinese Basketball Association, signing a one-year, $1.2 million contract with the Guangdong Southern Tigers.
After injuring his ankle, Mudiay played only 12 games for Guangdong, averaging 18 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5 assists and 1.6 steals. More important, he impressed former NBA star Stephon Marbury, who as a guard for the Beijing Ducks played against Mudiay last year.
“He can play at a high level …,” Marbury told Ryan McNeill of Hoops Addict last month. “What I like about him is he can jump and he’s big, too, a big guard, more of a tweener. He can’t really shoot that well right now, but he’s got point-guard skills, sees the floor really well. He’s definitely an NBA player.”
Marbury’s description brings to mind a guard the Kings drafted with the No. 4 pick in 2009.
Tom Couzens: (916) 321-1097, @tomcouzens
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